A performance at the ceremony marking 45 years of Vietnam-Malaysia diplomatic ties in HCM City on August 7 (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City wants to further boost cooperation in multiple spheres with Malaysia, especially in the prioritised fields of trade, investment, technology, education, culture and tourism, said a local official.

Speaking at a ceremony marking 45 years of Vietnam-Malaysia diplomatic relations on August 7, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem noted that Vietnam and Malaysia share many cultural similarities and their people began to exchange and learn from each other a long time ago.

The relationship has been further reinforced since the two countries set up diplomatic ties on March 30, 1973 and, especially, after they lifted the relations to the level of strategic partnership in 2015, Liem said.

With 562 projects worth over 12 billion USD, Malaysia currently ranks seventh among countries and territories directly investing in Vietnam, he adding that bilateral trade reached 6.67 billion USD in the first half of 2018, up 19.2 percent year on year, and is expected to hit 15 billion USD by 2020.

Liem went on to say that Malaysia has invested 4.6 billion USD in nearly 250 projects in HCM City, ranking third among 98 foreign investors here.

Aside from political and economic partnerships, bilateral collaboration in security-defence, culture, education and labour have also resulted in positive outcomes, thereby contributing to the bilateral comprehensive cooperation as well as peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region, the official added.

For his part, Malaysian Consul General in HCM City Sofian Akmal Abd. Karim affirmed that the sound relationship between Malaysia and Vietnam is the outcome of unceasing efforts by leaders and people of both nations, especially since the establishment of the strategic partnership in 2015.

According to the diplomat, over the four decades, bilateral trade and investment ties have grown considerably, driven by the favourable economic environment. Meanwhile, encouraging outcomes have also been seen in people-to-people diplomacy when about 248,000 Vietnamese visited Malaysia and 480,000 Malaysians came to Vietnam in 2017. Educational cooperation programmes and youth exchanges have also taken place regularly, helping to foster mutual understanding, solidarity and friendship.

He said although HCM City has attracted one-third of Malaysian investments in Vietnam, the two sides’ cooperation potential remains huge, particularly in education and tourism.

The official asked HCM City’s leaders to continue to support activities that are aimed at promoting bilateral ties so as to help intensify strategic partnership between Malaysia and Vietnam.

The ceremony featured singing and dancing performances by Vietnamese artists. The Malaysian Consulate General and partners also introduced a Batik flower-themed fashion collection symbolising the friendship between the two nations.–VNA